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CIA Running a ‘Number of’ Active Crypto Projects, Director Claims

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: AdobeStock / ontronix


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns has admitted that his agency has “a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency” in progress – and claimed that his predecessor Gina Haspel had “started” the CIA ball rolling in the crypto sphere. What is more, the agency is feeding its crypto “information” to “other parts” of the American government, Burns said.

Haspel served as the CIA Director from 2018 until March this year, when Burns took over.

At a Wall Street Journal-organized event, Burns stated:

“This is something I inherited. My predecessor had started this, but had set in motion a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency and trying to look at second- and third-order consequences as well and helping with our colleagues in other parts of the United States government to provide solid intelligence on what we’re seeing as well.”

Burns added that crypto could have an “enormous impact on everything from ransomware attacks,” because “one of the ways of getting at ransomware attacks and deterring them” is to be able to “get at the financial networks that so many of those criminal networks use and that gets right at the issue of digital currencies as well.”

Vice claimed that Burns’ admission was “hardly surprising given the focus ransomware is getting from every corner of government.”

On Twitter, some mused that the CIA could even have infiltrated social media groups and might be trying to exert a subtle influence over crypto community members.

The admission appears to have given a new wind to the years-old conspiracy theory that the CIA might be Satoshi Nakamoto or have played a part in creating bitcoin (BTC).

Others quipped that the lure of crypto could prove too strong for some agents.

On Reddit, some speculated that the agency might have its finger in certain privacy coin pies, with one opining:

“[The] CIA definitely wants to know how money is being laundered and spent. So whatever coins that are advertising themselves as being ‘more secure than the rest’ are definitely CIA.”

Elsewhere on Reddit, another asked:

“Did anyone have any doubts that the CIA was into crypto?”


Learn more:

As Bitcoin’s Taproot Nears, Ex-CIA Director’s Paper Raises Privacy Concerns
Former CIA Analyst on Crypto Regulation

Cashless Payment Is Booming. So Is Financial Surveillance
Chainalysis Valued at USD 2B as Investors See Demand For Crypto Intelligence